Great efforts were made in the reign of Queen Elizabeth to preserve the use of the long bow, and each town had butts for constant practise.

On 7th July, 1606, the Inhabitants of Gotham were fined 1/- "for not making metas anglice Butts."

There were also presentments for not repairing Butts.

On 10th January, 1637-1638, the Constable of Hawton was presented "fornot repairing the Butts there last year according to custom"; and on 14th July, 1641, Edward Harvy of Bellow Park was presented for not repairing Butts."

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the people were getting tired of archery, and as Stowe says, "bows were turned into bowls." Bowls was made an unlawful game, and persons who permitted or indulged in the game were punished.

The meaning of the following entry is not clear:

On 13th January, 1605, a yeoman of Somercots in Derbyshire was indicted "that he walks with a drawn bow in his hand (vadit cum arcu extens in manu) against the Statute."


In 1621 it was moved in Parliament that the old Archery regulations should be repealed, as "guns be now the service of the State, and long bows obsolete."

But it is difficult in the records to recognise the transition from Bows and Arrows to shooting with a gun. The reason for this is the use of the Latin language. There are many entries of Indictments for "Saggitand ad columbas,"meaning literally, shooting with arrows at pigeons or doves. Later on, the entry "Saggitand cum torment ad columbas" appears, which, literally, is "shooting with arrows with a catapult [or a gun] at pigeons." "Saggitand cum torment" maybe taken (at any rate in the later part of the century) to be intended by the Clerk of the Peace to mean "shooting with a gun."

There were a number of Indictments for shooting with hailshott, or as it is generally spelt "hayleshott." It was illegal under the Statute 2 Edw. VI. c. 14 for anyone to shoot with, or even to fire off, a gun, charged with hailshot.

On the 13th January, 1607-1608, "a licence to shoot with a gun was granted to William Whore of Sutton on Trent, and to William Lillye of the same, servants to Fulk Cartwright, Esq., and to servant to Sir William Sutton."

On the 11th February, 1689, an Order was made "That ffrancis Willoughby of Cossall, Esqre., shall keepe one hand gun if he pleases for ye safety of his house, &c, and that Sir Edwd. Golding of Coulston Bassett, Bart., and Mr. Edwd. Willoughby of Espellers may doe ye like."

There were Indictments "for carrying guns," "for carrying a loaded gun," "for keeping a gun," "for keeping a hand gun," "for carrying a certain gun loaded with powder and hailshott at Bonney," &c, &c.

On 5th April, 1619, a Warrant was issued against Gervase Sanford late of Arnold, gentleman, "for walking with loaded gun and other dangerous arms to the terror of the Inhabitants."

On the 10th January, 1654-1655 (during the Commonwealth period) the following entry appears:

Several complaints have beene made of the greate number of persons within the Wapentakes of Newarke and Thurgarton Aleigh that keepe and shoote in Gunns contrary to the forme of divers Lawes and Statutes of this Commonwealth and alsoe thereby neglecting to follow their callings to the improvement of themselves and familys which may in tyme put them upon desperate courses to the disturbance of the public peace. A returne of names of such persons to be presented to the Court and Grand Jury.

There are entries of persons being bound over "not to shoot with a gun," and "not to shoot with a gun for 3 years," and in 1621 a laborer "for shooting hailshot" was fined 20/- and bound over "not to shoot again for 7 years."

On 11th July, 1613, an Order was made that "the Constable of the Township of Lenton should bring in a certain catapult [or fowling piece] that he has taken from William Morley of the Town of Nott butcher who shot at a dog of a certain John Branson and killed him, to be disposed of as the Court shall think of it for the use of the lord the King."

On 10th July, 1678, it was Ordered that Edwd. Goodyear and Capt. Thornton doe take all gunes and Grayhounds according to ye penalty of ye Statute."

On 12th July, 1639, a husbandman of Notehall was indicted for "shooting hailshot in a gun near a certain place called Bulwell Park." Also "for then and there making an assault upon Richard Byron, Esqre, one of the Justices of the lord the King."

On 19th July, 1654, John Leonard of North Collingham, yeoman, was indicted and fined for "shooting a man in the foote with hale shot." A further fine was inflicted because Leonard "afterwards refused to pay his fine or traverse the indictment using very contemptuous words in face of ye Court, and refusing to deliver upp the gunn."


On 9th January, 1636-1637, there is a reference to a "muster anglice the trayning," and apparently this training was compulsory:

On 1st October, 1627, a Warrant was issued against two laborers of Gotham "to answer for their contempt in refusing to go to the Musters when ordered by the Constable there"; and

On 9th January, 1636-1637, a yeoman of Whatton was presented "for wilfully absenting himself from a Muster anglice the trayning being milit anglice a trayned soldier, upon the complaint of the Muster Master (ducis)."

The musters were really the Militia and constituted the force liable to be called upon to defend the country.

The force was assembled by the Lord Lieutenant of the County.

On 20th April, 1628, The Most Noble William Earl of Newcastle, Lieutenant of this County, sent to the Court certain accounts drawn up on parchment and signed by the hands of Gervase Clifton Kt. and Bart., H. Wasteneys Bart, and William Cooper Esq. his deputy lieutenants, concerning divers sums of money collected and levied from the County by the said Earl the whole time of his Lieutenancy for provision of soldiers and not expended by him in the aforesaid business. The accounts were ordered to be filed.

The non-payment of taxes for the Musters was an offence: 

On 17th April, 1615, a Warrant was issued to demand from a yeoman of Bilborow "certain taxes and impositions for training of soldiers upon him with the Inhabitants of the town of Strelley."

The Musters are not mentioned after the Civil War. In the time of the Commonwealth the following entry appears:

On 15th July, 1653, it was ordered that the pension heretofore yearly paid to the Muster Maister of this County shall from henceforth cease and determine in regard there is now noe use of nor service for any such officer.


Apparently the Musters were for home defence only. The soldiers who were liable to go on foreign service either enlisted voluntarily or were "pressed."


By virtue of a Statute passed in the reign of Elizabeth (43 Eliz. c. 3) parishes could be rated for the support of wounded and maimed soldiers.

Two Treasurers were appointed from among the Justices every year for the special purpose of expending the rate so collected in pensions, and gratuities granted to "maymed souldiers."

An Applicant for a pension was required to produce a certificate from the officer under whom he had served.

The records of grants of pension are as follows:

On 3rd October, 1608, £613 4 per ann. to Richard Somer a maimed soldier for compensation for his service in war. On 10th January, 1609-1610, £5 per ann. to Ralph Hiccock.

On 11th January, 1612-1613, £10 per ann. to Symon Leake, gent., "being a soldier in the Militia of the lord the King, and he being maimed."

On 18th July, 1634, Petition of Robert Cooke, Sergeant in the warres (exhibited by the Honble the Lieutenant of this County). Cooke had been impressed at Besthorpe and served as a soldier in warre of the illustrious Lady Queen Elizabeth in the Kingdom of Ireland. By musket shot in such service he received great hurt or maim in his left arm by which he lost the use of his said arm and has become less able to seek his own living. An Order was made for pension.

On 17th April, 1637, William Spries was ordered to have 40/- a year augmentation of pension "for that wee see strong probabilities that he is both a deserving man, and hath borne the place of a Sergeant in the warres, and that he hath had a Certificate thereof wch remayned in the custody of the Muster Master General for the warrant of his allowance wch certificate cannot now be had in regard the Muster Master General is dead vizt Mr. Trumball."
      [On 18th April, 1631, the Treasurer was ordered to pay 30/- to the three children of Wm. Spry a soldier. Evidently the same man.]

On 16th July, 1641, at East Retford, William Spry brought an allowance under the hands of divers Justices of the South side of the County for the augmentation of his pencon from £6to 20 nobles, and it was entered among the Records of the Sessions.

The following entries have reference to pensions granted after the Civil War:

On 18th April, 1653, the pension of £10 per annum formerly granted to Mrs. Buller of Newark, widow, late wief of Captain Thomas Buller who was slain in the Parliament's service, was reduced to 20 nobles yearly.

On 2nd October, 1654, it was ordered that Henry Vinars a late soldier in the service of the Parliament who was wounded at the taking of Shelford House, being one of the late King's Garrisons, as appeares to this Court by a Certificate under the hand of his Captaine Thomas Wright, shall have ye yearly pension of six pounds a yeare allowed him.

On 2nd October, 1654, an Order was made that Theodocia the late wife and relict of Thomas Walker a late soldier in the service of the Commonwealth who hath lately lost his life in the said service in Scotland as appeares by a Certificate thereof under the hands of his Captaine Robt Kirkeby and recommended to ye Justices of the Peace of this County by ye Lord Protector under his hand and seale shall have ye yearly penson of fourty shillings a yeare.

The following entry appears in January, 1654-1655:

"A perticuler of ye pentionors pay by the yeare sett down this ixth dav of January, 1654.

George Grey -   ijli
Nicholas Worthington -   ili
Richard Gampston -   ijli
Elizabeth Buller widd -   iijli
Christopher Bersey -   iiijli
Tho. Lynne an orphant -   ijli
Elizabeth Okeland widd -   ijli
Alice Gaile widd -   ili
Mary Hoe widd -   ijli
Elizabeth Mosse widd -   ijli
Anthony Crossland -   ili
Elizabeth Wilsmore widd -   ijli
Mary Manyott widd -   ijli
Elizabeth Brereley widd -   ili
Hellen Walker widd -   ijli
Anne Walesby widd -   ijli
Anne Hill widd -   ijli
John Trueman -   ijli
Margaret Newton widd -   ili
Joseph Cattle -   ijli
Phillip Sylvester -   ijli
Margaret England widd -   ijli
ffrancis Kinder -   ijli
John Bradley an orphant -   ili
Isabell Mearing widd -   iijli
Edmund Widdowes -   ijli
Samuell Newham an orpht -   ili s
Mary Alcocke widd -   ijli
Katheryn Barker widd -   ijli
Elizabeth Glover -   ijli
Henry Vinars -   ijli
Alice Renolds -   ijli
Ann Wright widd -   ijli
Elizabeth Lunne -   ijli
Sarah Grundy -   ijli
Ann Day wid -   ijli
Theodocia Walker widd -   ijli
& Margart Robinson widd -   ijli
  10 00 00
  63 10 00
The totall of the pentiors pay by ye yeare is
  73 10 00 "

On 1st October, 1655, Petition of Elizabeth Buller late widdow and relict Captaine Thomas Buller deceased who was slayne in the Parliament's service in ye late Civill Warres in this Nation shewing that whereas by virtue of an Ordinance of Parliament the Peticioner had a pencon of Tenn pounds per annum grannted by the Justices for maintenance of herself and her mother an old and impotent woman who lay upon her hands, but in regard the County Stocke (as was alleadged) was soe small and ye pencons soe many the Justices did lately reduce the said penson to three pounds a yeare which is soe small as she is not able therewith to maintenne her old mother much less receive any benefitt thereby towards her own maintenne. Ordered that as soone as any pencon formerly grannted shall cease by death of the penconers or otherwise that then the pencon of the said Elizabeth Buller shalbe increased tb Six pounds per annum if she shalbe then liveing.

On the same day a pencon of Twenty Shillings out of the County Stocke was ordered unto Humfrey Seele of Snenton who in the tyme of the late Civill warres, wherein he was a Parliamt soldier, was trough [through] a cold lamed in his armes and hands and disabled to work for his living, as well towards his present relief as alsoe to recover the use of his said Limbe by Surgery whereof he is putt in greate hope that thereby he may be able to mainteyne and provide for himself.

On 6th April, 1657, Petition of Mrs. Nethercotes widdow showing that her late husband Captain Edward Nethercotes serving for Parliamt of England in the late Civill Warre as a Captaine of Dragoones under the command of Colonall Thornhagh deceased did loose his life in the said service as is very well knowne to some of the Justices here present. An order was made to pay her £5 yearly, and this was increased to £10 on the 5th October, 1657.

On 20th July, 1657, Forty shillings yearly was allowed to Richard Cooper he having been a soldier in ye Parliaments service under ye command of ye late Colonell ffrancis Thornhagh deceased and received diverse wounds in his body at Willoughby feight where he lay under ye Chirurgeons hands for ye space of nyne monothes and is disabled to earne his own maintence as appeares by a certificate under the hands as well of Richard Dolphin his Captain as alsoe of Colonell Charles White and Major Chadwicke who were eye witnesses of his wounds.

On 6th October, 1658, an Order was made for 40/- yearly to Robert Rose of Harby laborer having served this Commonwealth in ye late warres for divers yeares under the comand of Capt ffrancis Ayscough and therein received severall wounds in his body, by reason whereof he is disabled to work, &c.

After the Restoration pensions were awarded to Royalist soldiers:

On 3rd October, 1660, a Pension of £3 6 8 was allowed to Peter Hodgson of Worksop he "having beene a faithful soldier in His Majesty's Service and therein received a grievous wound in one of his armes in a skirmish at Nott about a yeare agoe."

On 9th January, 1660-1661, a Pension of 40/- was allowed to Jo Dingle. About ye yeare 1644 he being taken by a Comission of Aray at Graundby to serve his late Majesty's in ye late civill warres wherein he served his late Majesty as a soldier in ye Guarrison at Newarke and other places. He was wounded and unable to obtain his living.

On 9th January, 1660-1661, a Pension was allowed to Richd Pearson of fflintham who also served in ye Garrison of Newark and was wounded.

By the entry on 1st October, 1655, it is evident that the burden of pensioning maimed soldiers had become a heavy one, "the County Stocke was soe small and ye pencons soe many."

On the 11th January, 1657, the following entry appears: 

Information that ye present moneys collected for ye pensoners is not sufficient to pay ye pensons setled and ordered to be paid and to make any increase or new assessmt would be inconvenient and conceiving that ye present pay to ye marshalls may henceforth be taken away in regard by ye monthly meeting the petty Constables may be sufficient to suppresse Vagrants. Ordered that ye pay to ye marshalls shalbe taken of and ye same payd henceforth to ye Treasurers for maihemed soldiers untill further order.
[Note.—As to the Marshalls referred to see the entries at page 20.]

In the year 1681, the pensions were reduced one half:

On 13th April, 1681, it was ordered that every Pensioner as maimed soldier or otherwise qualified by 43rd of ye Queen [Elizabeth] shall have a moiety of their late Pencons according as that Statute directs to commence instantly but still with respect to ye Judges opinion at ye next Assizes yt Statute be yet in force by ye continuance of severall subsequent Acts of Parliament of the same Statutes.

On 15th April, 1681 (at Retford), it was ordered that ye Pencon money shall bee reduced to ye same sume and as it was in King Charles 1st.

On 6th April, 1657, there was a complaint by the Treasurers that the Towne of Newarke hath neglected to pay their due Rates to the said Treasurers towards relief of meighemed soldiers and widdowes and orphans of men slayne in ye late warre of this Commonwealth being £154 yearly ever since ye year 1646 to ye greate wronge of ye County and hindrance of ye public service. An Order was made.

A few pensions were granted in the latter part of the century:

On 25th April, 1688, Mr. Hamond Thornton allowed quarterly 15/- as a pension for his services done to the King whilst he lives.

On 22nd April, 1691, 20/- yearly pension allowed to John Kirkby of North Clifton.

On 17th July, 1691, Pension of 5 /- a quarter ordered to John Martin a mayhemd soldier.

On 6th April, 1692, Pension 20/- yearly to Henry ffox Sen. of Newark.

On 26th April, 1693, Pension of 5/- quarterly granted to Antony Rowe of Newark, he being an old souldrer and unable to work.

In Bailey's "Annals of Nottinghamshire," it is stated that no entries are found in the records of the Corporation of Nottingham in reference to the maintenance of soldiers who had been wounded or otherwise disabled from service. In the County Sessions Book of 3rd April, 1654, there is the following Order:

Ordered that no further payment be made of any pensions by the Treasurers of this County for maihemed soldiers, to any inhabitants in the town of Nott, they being a distinct Countie of themselves and not chargeable nor beare anie parte with the Countie.


In addition to the granting of pensions, the Justices in Quarter Sessions ordered Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor to relieve soldiers and the families of soldiers:

On 15th July, 1625, the Churchwardens and Overseers of Saundby were ordered to relieve and educate the infant child of William Kirkby taken as a soldier from Saundby, until he returns from the war; and

On the same day the Churchwardens and Overseers of Askham were ordered to maintain the wife and two children of a soldier.

On 9th April, 1630, 6d. per week was ordered for relief of John Andrews of Gringley, laborer, and his family, the said John being pressed as a soldier at Gringley to serve the lord the King in the warres received wounds and was very poor and impotent.

On 22nd April, 1638, the Overseers of Arnold were ordered to allow ninepence weekly to Elizabeth wife of Jerome Kirk, towards her maintenance, her husband being taken for a soldier in the wars in Scotland. Also to procure for her a cart loaded with coals every year until her husband return from the said wars.

From the above entries it would appear that "pressed soldiers" were relieved as paupers by the parishes to which they belonged, and that pensions were awarded to maimed soldiers who had voluntarily joined the army.

On the 16th July, 1641, there is an Order that Erasmus Townsend being prest for a soldier from Lenton into the North last year, and now returned, shall be set at work at Lenton whereby he may get his living and not wander or beg for want of meanes.

The practice of hiring men to go as soldiers from particular parishes is referred to in an entry on 18th July, 1656:

The Court were informed "yt Riccard Clarke late of Everton, laborer, being by the then Constable and other Inhabitants of ye said Towne hired to goe as a soldier for ye said Towne in ye last Expedition into Scotland for ye sum of £3 wch service he did accordingly perform notwithstanding which ye said Inhabitants did refuse and neglect to pay ye said some to ye sd Clarke at his returne from Scotland And ye sd Clarke is sithence gone as a Soldier to Gemaica and hath left behind him his wife and two small children." An Order was made for 16d. weekly and arrears to be paid by the parish.

The following is an instance of a fraudulent attempt to obtain a pension:

On 14th July, 1617, Robert Green was sent to gaol for producing to the Justices a warrant from Sir William Wade for a pension of this County as a maimed soldier, the said Robert having before received a composition from this County for a former pension.

There are several instances of desertion by "prest soldiers":

On 6th April, 1627, "Thomas Jones (called Petty Chapman) taken as a vagrant at Brent Broughton and thence sent to Grantham and there prest for a soldier who had taken prest money, departed from his leader without notice," and with his wife was afterwards taken wandering and-badly conducting themselves at Burton Joyce.

On 25th April, 1628, Morgan Watson, yeoman, was sent for trial at Assizes for unlawfully going away from his leader without license being a prest soldier and entered on the records to serve the lord the King in the warres.

On 22nd April, 1638, Robert Holliday taken for a soldier from Leicester, and Valentine Ossin from Burton Lazar, were conducted to Selby in County York, and there Holliday was delivered to Captain Sholder and Ossin to Captain Washington. At Rockley near Selby having received press money they fled, and were arrested at Mansfield. Both men were sent to gaol until the Assizes.

The following entries show that persons were obliged to let their horses to carry soldiers:

On 17th July, 1640, Francis Sheppard of Warksop, was presented for refusing his horse to carry soldiers to the next town.

In October, 1640, Adam Pearson of Worksop, petitioned that he having a horse taken by the Constable there to carry a certain Sergeant Rawlins to Doncaster, the said horse is now lost to the value of £6.It was Ordered and written on the petition that the Constable should make a collection and immediately pay the petitioner £6.


On the 11th February, 1689, an order in reference to the billeting of soldiers was made as follows:

Whreas by a late Act of Parliament entitled an Act for punishing Officers or Souldjers who shall mutiny or desert their Majesty's service and for punishing false Musters It's enacted amongst other things that for and during ye continuance of ye said Act and no longer It shall and may be lawful for ye Constables tythingmen headboroughs and other chief officers and magistrates of Cittyes towns and villages and other places in ye Kingdom of England &c. and for any others to Quarter and Billet the officers and souldjers in their Majesty's Service in Inns Livery Stables Alehouses victualling house and all houses selling Brandy strong waters syder or metheglin by retail to be drinke in their houses and no other and in no private houses whatsoever and that ye Officers and Souldjers so quartered and billetted as aforesaid shall pay such reasonable prices as shall be appoynted from time to time by ye Justices of the peace in their Quarter Sessions of each County Citty or Division or place within their respective jurisdictions who are by virtue of the said Act empowered and required to sett and appoynt in their Quarter Sessions aforesaid such reasonable rates for all necessary provisions for such Officers and Souldjers for one or more nights in their marching through their citys townes villages or other places and for ye first night only in such places as shall be appoynted for their residence or quarters in pursuance thereunto.

Order in regard to the quartering and Billetting of Soldiers at Inns, &c. To pay ye Rates following:

Every Capitain or Leuitenant of horse }   or as they
        or ffoote for each ordinary twelve pence }   can agree
Every lower Officer for each ordinary eight pence }   for ye same
Every trooper for meate and small
        beere for one night and next
        morning six pence
For his horse hay for ye like time six pence
For every peck of oates ffour pence
Every dragooner for meate and small
        beere for one night and next
        morning ffive pence
For each horse hay for ye like time ffive pence
For every pecke of oates three pence
For every foote souldier for meate and
        small beere for one night and next
        morning five pence

Refusing to billet soldiers was an offence:

On 17th July, 1613, a laborer of Blyth was indicted because he refused to entertain a soldier brought to him by the Captain.


On 13th July, 1640, William Grocock of Ratcliffe was presented for "refusing to carry Saltpetre"—presumably for gunpowder.